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North Carolina man recovering after being bitten by pet green mamba snake

Posted at 3:03 PM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 15:03:37-04

A North Carolina man is recovering after being bitten by his pet green mamba snake.

The green mamba snake is shy, but it is quick and venomous.

If you get bitten by a green mamba without treatment with antivenom, your chances of survival are very low.

That's why time was of the essence on Sunday when a man showed up to UNC REX Hospital in Raleigh after getting bitten by his green mamba at home.

He needed anti venom - but the closest spot was 250 miles away at the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, South Carolina.

Riverbanks Zoo has three green mambas.

Zoo staff quickly packed a cooler with 10 vials of antivenom on ice and drove it to nearby Lexington Medical Center before it was flown to UNC REX.

It was critical to get the treatment to Raleigh in a hurry.

Sean Foley, Riverbanks curator of Herpetology, says doctors used four vials to treat the patient, who's expected to be okay.

"The sooner you get it, the better, obviously -- especially with a green mamba bite. It's a neurotoxic venom, so it's going to affect your breathing, so that person immediately went to the hospital, which is the right thing to do because you may stop breathing pretty quick," Foley said.

Raleigh police say the snake is back with its owner, and they say their Animal Control Division is still investigating the circumstances surrounding the bite.

North Carolina state law requires venomous snakes be kept in a sturdy enclosure with a lock.

Foley says some people do keep green mambas as pets, but he advises against it.